Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 63

Thread: Rentrant Bb tuning on tenor uke

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Blaine, Washington
    Posts
    2,288

    Default Rentrant Bb tuning on tenor uke

    Was conversing with Dirk from Southcoast Uke about using his light/med. rentrant strings on my tenor. I told him that it sounded like someone "Cut the balls off" compared to the linears. He suggested a med. rentrant and try Bb tuning. (f,Bb,D,G) Holy Moly, it changed the how ambiance of the uke and "the boy" got his weblos back bigtime. What a fun tuning.

    A person can play the same chords as C tuning but the sound would be two steps down from a C. If I wanted to play in C tuning I can either put the capo two frets up and play reg. C type chords or better yet, play the chord shape that would make a C chord in Bb tuning.

    So in Bb tuning a C chord would be played like a D shape in C tuning. F chord would be played like a G shape and G7 would be played like a A7.

    What fun and even makes this ole froggy voice sound a little better than a croak.

    Thanks Dirk, I learned more about tunings; why they fit particular instruments and why certain strings should be used on a particular instrument, in three days than I've learned in decades of playing stringed instruments.

    Try it, it's easy to tune back to C tuning if you don't like it.
    Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 09-14-2012 at 05:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Hippie Dribble Guest

    Default

    I love Bb tuning too Patrick. I've even used it on sopranos, but any scale can sound nice...kinda warms thing up a bit and mellows things out. With the baritone a Bb tuning can sound really nice too; there you're raising the pitch 1.5 steps and it can liven and sweeten things up...increasing the resonance and sometimes - depending on the uke - volume too, with the higher string tension. It's just fun to play with tunings fullstop. Experimentation leads to many breakthroughs. Happy for your discovery mate and here's to many more! Cheers!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Sewell, NJ (suburb of Philadelphia, Pa)
    Posts
    599

    Default

    Wow--- love the sound it the Bb tuning on my RTSH. I have it strung with low g (F), and a wound c (Bb) and what a great sound on that instrument. Since I have so many tenors, I am thinking of keeping this one tuned in Bb.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Here and there
    Posts
    557

    Default

    I'm so pleased that more and more folks are trying out lower tunings. As soon as I tuned the south coast heavies I had on my BlueGrass tenor down to A, I knew that I would never be going back to GCEA, at least not on that instrument.

    I found that my big-bodied BlueGrass tenor loves being tuned EAC#F#. I tried that tuning on my MP with heavies, but it didn't quite work. The MP's body is likely half the volume (not decibel volume; think cubic inches) of the Bluegrass; I tuned it up to Bb and, man, does it sound good now!


    How do you guys like the lower tension when you tune down?
    MP Redwood/Koa Tenor with SouthCoast Heavies (tuned FBbDG), Loprinzi Mahogany Tenor with SouthCoast Mediums, Lute-kulele with Worth Browns, Mahalo "Les Paul"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    North Florida
    Posts
    430

    Default

    I have been using Southcoast mediums on my Kamaka tenor in B flat tuning for awhile now. The ukulele has a fuller sound and my singalongs are more comfortable compared to high G tuning. I highly recommend giving it a try.
    Kamaka tenor
    Pono PCES concert
    Molokai mo bettah

  6. #6

    Default

    I have re-entrant Bb tuning on one of my baritones.

    On the baritone size at least, you don't need to commit to one brand of strings.
    I'm pretty sure any brand of regular tenor strings would work tuned down to Bb.

    Currently have Fremont Blackline tenor strings tuned to Bb on a baritone. Tension is perfect, sounds great.
    Last edited by kissing; 09-15-2012 at 04:50 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,403

    Default

    I totally want to have a B flat tuning on one of my ukes. For me it's the quintessential tuning for jazz, just thinking about it makes me daydream about second-line brass band parades in New Orleans. Then I start nodding along imaginary rhythms. Whoops, doing it now! lol
    I'm a big fan of the TV show Treme and I laughed tones when Antoine Batiste kept shouting at one of his musicians to play in Bb, so the idea of having a uke in this tuning makes me giggle inside.
    I'll try it on my up-coming baritone when I get it, got advices from Dirk about it too. Although I did plan to have that one in open G tuning... So this might be a good excuse to get a tenor at some point... Tenors tuned GCEA tend to have a bit too much string tension in my taste anyway, so tuning one down a notch might be just the way to go! Hurray!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    308

    Default

    I don't get the advantage of tuning down to play in Bb - as the Bb position with regular "C" tuning is like F in baritone tuning ("G" tuning, right?) and that is a great position for playing swing and jazz chord progressions on the tenor. Lowering it so you would be in the position where you used to play C would mean you would have to play way up the neck to play in C where you used to play in D - not nearly as comfortable a position for swing chords?? Now if it sounds better, fine, but functionally it doesn't seem to help.

    However, I could see the advantage of tuning the tenor to "G". What sort of strings would enable that tuning on a tenor?


    Doug

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,403

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wendellfiddler View Post
    I don't get the advantage of tuning down to play in Bb - as the Bb position with regular "C" tuning is like F in baritone tuning ("G" tuning, right?) and that is a great position for playing swing and jazz chord progressions on the tenor. Lowering it so you would be in the position where you used to play C would mean you would have to play way up the neck to play in C where you used to play in D - not nearly as comfortable a position for swing chords?? Now if it sounds better, fine, but functionally it doesn't seem to help.

    However, I could see the advantage of tuning the tenor to "G". What sort of strings would enable that tuning on a tenor?


    Doug
    It's an advantage if you play a piece of music that is in the key of Bb

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mandeville, Louisiana
    Posts
    1,584

    Default

    There's nothing you can do to make your instrument sound better than to find the most resonant tuning! There is a lot of sophisticated acoustical analytics around, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to grasp the concept that a higher range of notes works better on smaller instruments, and lower notes work better as they increase in size. It's true for the violin family, for horns, for bells, for just about anything that makes a sound.

    Publishing companies would love to keep things simple, and "best sound" may not be the only reason to select a tuning, but for every other instrument but the ukulele, best sound seems pretty high up the list.

    The formula that we like is to select a tuning that has it's lowest note at least 1/2 step above the resonance of the body. A typical Tenor Ukulele resonates at low G, so a low note of A flat or higher would be ideal. Now though, you factor in one more thing. The Tenor was a very commercial design - the first attempt to build an ukulele for "guitar tuning". As a result, the scale is a bit short to have normal gauge strings produce an A flat tuning.

    You see Jamie uses our Heavy Gauge set to go down to A tuning. That's a wonderful, mellow sound - fully resonant on a Tenor body. We usually recommend B flat (f' - b flat - d - g'), however, because this puts the strings into the stronger end of the standard gauges - in our case, "Medium Gauge", giving a bit more brightness and response. Both tunings are excellent on a Tenor - it's a matter of personal preference and the instrument itself factors in as well.

    While there will obviously be those who like reentrant C tuning on a Tenor, it has lots of problems from an acoustical standpoint. First, it leaves a lot of unused capacity in that big body. Second, to drive the large soundboard, the tensions have to be pretty high. In many cases this is not only uncomfortable, but detracts from the sound in another way, by limiting vibrato.

    Finally, B flat has another advantage. If you've learned to play in C tuning, and play in groups from time to time, it's a great place to use a capo. The 2nd position puts you back in C tuning. On a Tenor fretboard, you still have a lot of room. In group settings, optimal sound is usually not all that important, and you're not usually playing up at the top of the fretboard.

    BTW, for those of you who are what I call "Big Ukers" (you like the big sizes), the Baritone also is an excellent candidate for B flat. Because of the bigger body, you drop the 4th string an octave for a "low 4th" B flat tuning. A typical Baritone body resonates at around d#, and the low 4th string of a B flat tuning is an "f". Again, it is slightly higher than it could be, but again, string gauges at that pitch make it very attractive versus a slightly lower pitch. Also, once again, a capo puts you up to C tuning in the second position.

    On the Baritone, linear B flat is a tuning that's much clearer and cleaner than the traditional linear G tuning; much fuller and richer than tuning to C. You end up with that combination that so many look for: a reentrant (your Tenor) and a linear (your Baritone) instrument - both in B flat - both wonderfully resonant, and both easily converted to C tuning with the click of a capo.

    p.s: lalou hit the nail on the head when he mentioned songs written in B flat being easier to play in that tuning. Most jazz songs were originally written in that key, as it is the natural key for horns. If you're playing them in C tuning, wendell, you're most likely playing an "ukulele transposition" of the original arrangement. If you have access to the old sheet music, you can usually find a B flat arrangement, and you'll be surprised how nice it sounds and plays compared to C.
    Last edited by southcoastukes; 09-18-2012 at 07:22 PM.
    Dirk Wormhoudt



    website: http://www.southcoastukes.com

    email: sales@southcoastukes.com

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •